March 2015

Student Work in an Online MET STEM Course

As I discussed earlier, this year I am teaching (for the second time,a s the previous time was in 2013) an online course on Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning with Technology. I say the second time, because the first time I taught the course I was teaching the old version, designed by another person. Then I redesigned the course and now I teach my own version of the course. I have to say that students in my course certainly do not disappoint. I would like to share here the links to some of the projects created by the students, so you can see for yourself:

1. Helping students acquire the ability to transfer knowledge within a subject, between subjects and from the classroom to everyday life. Link

Abstract: This video presentation examines the importance of learning transfer for educators and students in the learning environment.  After briefly introducing the concept of transfer, it proceeds to explore both the factors that influence and the barriers that inhibit this process in learning.  Techniques for teaching transfer are also identified and related to the classroom experience.  Finally, the use of technology is applied to learning transfer and tools are described that can support educators in applying this model to the learning environment.  Through this presentation, viewers will understand the value of learning transfer and its benefits for both educators and students alike.
Exploring the process of learning mathematics & science: from children to adults

2. Applications of learning theories to math and science education Link 

Abstract: A general understanding of learning theories informs a mathematics and science educator and encourages the use of best instructional practices. In surveying the breadth of learning theories, four main pedagogical implications can be observed. First, although it was previously believed that a child came to learning as a tabula rasa, now researchers recognize there is an early predisposition in infants towards learning. Educators must harness this prior knowledge to build further factual knowledge and conceptual frameworks. Secondly, a metacognitive approach to learning fosters student agency. This is applicable at all levels of learning in an age-appropriate manner. Third, consideration of a variety of learning theories allows an educator to motivate students in their learning, identifying also when prescribed learning theories don’t support a specific, individual learning situation. Finally, the social contexts of learning must be considered. Teachers must continually assess the knowledge, skills, and attitudes being transmitted for their cultural relevance, and can also take advantage of social constructivist theories for learning to engage learners with one another and with the more advanced experts who may surround them.

3. Meeting the Needs of Math & Science Learners for the 21st Century Link 

Abstract Take a walk with Mr. Smith, an experienced grade 7 science teacher, as he reflects on his technology usage in the classroom.  This video provides a narrative that guides you through Mr. Smith’s thoughts and questions regarding technology in the science and mathematics classroom, followed by tangible teaching and learning resources, and theoretical interjections addressing how Mr. Smith might go about making a change to the teaching and learning that occurs in his classroom.  You will be introduced to the key elements of an effective learning environment, ways of providing contextual variety in the classroom, and the change in classroom goals that have been observed over the years.  All of these factors will guide you towards the considerations that should be made when choosing appropriate technology for the classroom, the premises that exist when deciding which technology to use and how to use it, how to create a student-centred learning environment, and the reasoning behind using formative assessment in the classroom.

4. Effective Science and Mathematics Education: Planning, Teaching, and Assessment Link

Abstract: Research on teaching mathematics and science provides us with a better understanding of what effective teaching looks like within the disciplines. Educators should use this research as a basis for reflection on their own instructional effectiveness in the classroom. The purpose of this presentation is to describe what effective teaching looks like, how we assess it, and how our philosophies of education impact what we see as effective teaching and learning.

5. Exploring Teacher Education in Science & Mathematics. Link

Abstract: When we look at our education system it is clear that we are not serving the needs of our students.  Teachers, how were prepared to teach? How were you prepared to manage 30 kids for six plus hours a day stuck in a uninspiring crowded classroom? How were prepared to deal with an ever changing curriculum, standardized tests, and poorly made textbooks? How were you prepared to differentiate, jigsaw, and teach constructively while also spend hours planning, attending meetings, and communicating with parents? The purpose of this video is to encourage you to reflect on the impact your teacher training had on your teaching, your students, and your classroom.

6. Designing technology enhanced learning environments to support mathematics and science teaching and learning: How People Learn: Ch. 9- technology Supported Learning Link 

Abstract: What is the role of technology in education today? Technology plays an important role in the classrooms of today. Educational technology is allowing educators to create learning environments that allow students to learn by doing and interact with teachers, peers and experts beyond the physical walls of the classroom. Meaningfully incorporating technology into the classroom can take learning to new heights through differentiated instruction, scaffolding strategies, simulations and interactive activities, while allowing teachers to provide students with prompt and direct feedback that is not realistically possible without the aid of technology.  However, simply using technology in the classroom does not automatically produce or guarantee positive results. There are many reasons as to why technology-enhanced learning environments do not produce desired results.  Some of the causes for the failure of technology enhanced environments include factors such as technology for the sake of technology, misguided administrative decisions, and lack of appropriate support and training for teachers. Before educational technology is incorporated in the classroom, educators need to make well informed decisions about the tools they are selecting and the educational reasons behind its inclusion. Educational research supports the use of the TPACK model when designing technology supported learning environments.  The TPACK model identifies the knowledge teachers need to effectively teach with technology.  Effective integration of technology requires teachers to understand the interrelationships between pedagogical, technological and content knowledge. What are characteristics of successful projects where technology made a difference in student learning?  Bransford, D., Brown, A.L., & Cocking, R. R. (2002) suggest 5 ways to ensure success in a technology supported learning environment: learning through real-world contexts, providing scaffolds and tools, providing feedback and revision, connecting classrooms to community, and teacher learning.  Examples of how technology can support learning are also provided in this presentation.


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